Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls

Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls
William Cole ~ Tomi Ungerer ~ Philomel Books, 1964

I've had this book for a while, but in crummy form, so I was psyched to score a nearly mint copy in a used bookshop in Chapel Hill. Since we've been crazed with Tomi of late, it was especially fun to come across the upgrade. (I was also finally able to replace our nearly wretched paperback copy of Spinky Sulks with a dustjacketed hardcover, but that's for another day.)

Collected by anthologist Coleman, here we find a Puckish amassing of poems about mischievous children from the likes of Nash, Housman, Hughes, Riley, Silverstein, Milne and more. Opening with a wonderful rhyming forward, Coleman sets the stage for the devilish ditties inside.

Most of these poems and illustrations
Are very much ex-ag-ger-a-tions;
Meaning that no one would ever do
Such wicked and horrid things...would you?
Of course you wouldn't...but listen...look...
If ever you do -- Don't Blame This Book!

Nothing To Do?
Nothing to do?
Nothing to do? Put some mustard in your shoe,
Fill your pockets full of soot,
Drive a nail into your food,
Put some sugar in your hair,
Place your toys upon the stair,
Smear some jelly on the latch,
Eat some mud and strike a match,
Draw a picture on the wall,
Roll some marbles down the hall,
Pour some ink in daddy's cap
Now go upstairs and take a nap.
~ Shel Silverstein

Table Manners
The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their broth on the table-cloth;
Oh, they live untidy lives.
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew,
So that is why I am glad that I
Am not a Goop. Are you?
~ Glett Burgess

The Dutchess' Lullaby
Speak roughly to your little boy
And beat him when he sneezes;
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows he teases.
~ Lewis Carroll

All collected here as one, it reminds me a bit of Dahl's Dirty Beasts. Of course here, Ungerer it the perfect cohort for this doggerel verse, and his line drawings are as simple as they are fittingly drab and sublime. Honestly, I can never seem to get enough. I like to think that he has some cosmic line directly into my son's sense of humor, but in reality, I imagine Tomi does that for most children. All peas in the same pod.

Also by:
I Am Papa Snap and These Are My Favorite No Such Stories
The Mellops Strike Oil
Zarelda's Ogre
Seeds and More Seeds
The Three Robbers
Moon Man
Orlando The Brave Vulture
Christmas Eve at the Mellops'
The Beast of Monsieur Racine
Book of Various Owls
The Hat


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy!


Vicki Palmquist said...

I am thrilled that Tomi Ungerer is receiving fanfare and hoopla. I've always loved his books. When I was shelving them at the library 40 years ago, they made me stop and read them, calling out to me. And they were FUNNY! Thanks for your many commentaries on Mr. Ungerer's work.

Jil Casey said...

Great collection of poems, I like "Nothing to do?", but I'm a little afraid to read it to my grandson, might give him ideas! :>)

Burgin Streetman said...


Anonymous said...

Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls was my all time favourite library book. I checked it out for several weeks in a row. Now I am going to buy one fifty years after first finding it. Appropriate, no. Hilarious, absolutely!

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